Publication Date: 07/04/2016 ISBN: 9781472911384 Category:

Spirals in Time

Helen Scales

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication Date: 07/04/2016 ISBN: 9781472911384 Category:
Paperback / Softback




‘A rewarding glimpse of another world’ THE GUARDIAN

Seashells are the sculpted homes of a remarkable group of animals: the molluscs. These are some of the most ancient and successful animals on the planet, and they have fascinating tales to tell. Spirals in Time charts the course of shells through history, from the first jewelry and the oldest currencies through to their use as potent symbols of sex and death, prestige and war, not to mention a nutritious (and tasty) source of food.

In this book, Helen Scales leads us on a journey into the realm of these undersea marvels. She goes in search of everything from snails that ‘fly’ underwater to octopuses accused of stealing shells and giant mussels with golden beards.

Shells are also bellwethers of our impact on the natural world. The effects of overfishing and pollution are, of course, serious concerns, but perhaps more worrying is ocean acidification, which causes shells to simply melt away. Spirals in Time urges you to ponder how seashells can reconnect us with nature, and heal the rift between ourselves and the living world.

One of the books of the year – Nature, Guardian, The Economist, The Times

Publisher Review

A rewarding glimpse of another world, filled with strange and reclusive creatures ... There is rich detail in all directions. One does not know what will come next. Often the descriptions made me see shafts of sunlight underwater, irradiating extraordinary places and creatures. That is just what the book does itself. * The Guardian * ... punctures assumptions with the power of a cone snail dart. * The Spectator * Splendid ... Scales clearly loves snails - she has done an elegant, excellent job of explaining her passion ... she is a most able modern champion of molluscs. * New Scientist * Scales is a charming raconteur with boundless enthusiasm and an eye for detail that make her subject glow with life. Combining biology, history and ecology, this is nature writing at its most engaging. * Sunday Express * The stories in Spirals in Time - which range from slaves being bought for bags of shells in west Africa in the 1770s to ground-breaking medical uses of cone-snail venom - are gripping and unimaginable. * The Telegraph * Helen Scales ... takes us on a fascinating journey into the strange and captivating world of mollusks. Carefully researched and entertaining throughout ... Scales's book is relentlessly interesting. * Science * informed introduction to this fascinating group. The author's enthusiasm shines through the prose...This is an ideal book for a summer holiday, and beach finds will take on a new dimension because of it. * Times Literary Supplement * With the soul of a poet and a talent for finding the most intriguing trivia about familiar seaside sights, marine biologist Scales turns the mundane into the magical. * Discover *

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